GoPro Files Prospectus for IPO of Extreme-Sports Camera Maker

GoPro Inc.’s cameras are made to withstand filming in waves, wind and snow. Now, the company is set to face investors after filing for an initial share sale.

The company disclosed its prospectus yesterday with a $100 million placeholder, a figure used to calculate fees that will change. GoPro, based in San Mateo, California, tapped JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Barclays Plc to manage the initial public offering, according to the filing. GoPro plans to use the proceeds from the IPO for general corporate purposes and to repay debt.

GoPro’s cameras let action-sports enthusiasts from surfers to skiers to sky divers take professional-quality videos, many of which get posted on YouTube. GoPro’s revenue jumped 87 percent last year to $985.7 million. While most of that was derived through cameras and accessories, GoPro plans to position itself as a media company, the filing shows. GoPro sells its products in more than 100 countries, through more than 25,000 retail stores, according to the prospectus.

The maker of mountable and wearable cameras originally filed confidentially under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act in February. By disclosing its prospectus, GoPro must wait at least 21 days before starting its roadshow, or official marketing process with investors, in compliance with that legislation.

Dual Track

GoPro also explored alternatives to the IPO, from an outright sale to a secondary funding round, that would allow it to stay private for longer, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information. While the company continued with preparations for an IPO while holding those talks, the filing is a sign that alternatives may not be as compelling as going public. Companies often conduct a dual-track process, and can announce a sale agreement even after an IPO is under way.

Rick Loughery, a representative for GoPro, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In recent years, GoPro cameras have expanded beyond the surf and sky-diving crowds and are used for a variety of everyday and specialty applications. Fire departments use them for training, marine biologists use them for undersea research and the U.S. Army uses them in tests of the damage to Humvees from roadside bombs.

GoPro posted a $60.6 million profit last year, almost double what it earned in 2012, according to the filing.

Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Woodman, 38, founded the company more than a decade ago. He owns 49 percent of the voting power. Other shareholders include Riverwood Capital LLC, Sageview Capital Partners LP and Foxconn Technology Group.

Existing shareholders yet to be identified also will offer shares, the filing indicates. GoPro has applied to list its stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol GPRO.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.